Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Matt Leishman -- Character TD

Matt pretty much opened this can of worms by letting me visit him at Rythm and Hues. My first Hollywood buddy ( he will deny it but hes hollywood to me....) I got a chance to work with him while he was an animator at Saffire and he was nice enough to take me under his wing and hook me up with pearls of wisdom. It made my vacation meeting up with him again. Matt has worked on some great thing including Narnia, Garfield, Happy Feet, and Night at the Museum to name a few.

He showed me the new project he is workin on during my tour ( which solidified me knowin someone hollywood,in turns makes me a name dropper.....and as you know I dont mind.) And I have to say Im giddy as a school girl about it. I hope I get the pleasure of workin with Matt. If you get a chance to meet him, tell him hi and to call me cause hes harder to get a hold of now that hes a star ;) jk Matt.

" Mel asked me if I didn't mind providing a brief bio of myself and a little info on how I got to where I am. And I didn't mind, so here I am.

I graduated from byu in 2000 with a BA degree in Visual Arts (significant emphasis on computer graphics). At the time byu didn't have the established animation program they have now, so I had to make do with what was available. It was a good way to learn, teaching myself. But I really didn't start learning anything until I got out into the real world (as is the case with any industry I'm sure). I worked for 4 years at various places in Utah after graduation - Viewpoint being one of them. And while at Viewpoint I was introduced to rigging. They even provided a chance for me to attend some Maya master classes at Siggraph where I was really inspired and learned much from people like Jason Schliefer. I found that I really loved the unique challenges of rigging, and the process of creatively solving rigging problems was something I soon became fairly passionate about.

The experience I received from the various studios I worked at in Utah (in addition with a considerable amount of rigging freelance work I was fortunate enough to get) and also a part time teaching gig at byu that I was able to get led to an interview with Rhythm & Hues. Oh, and I can't forget a guy named Tom Mikota who worked for R&H at the time who put his neck out for me and walked in my reel, I'll always be grateful to him for that. R&H was gearing up in the rigging department because they had just been awarded a very significant amount of work for the first Narnia movie. I don't know exactly what it is that they saw in me because my demo reel was GARBAGE ... but they saw something and offered me a chance. I'm pretty happy they did because I've had a chance to work on some great projects, and I'm still here. I've worked on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Flight of the Phoenix, Garfield 2, ANight at the Museum, Happy Feet, Kingdom, and currently I'm working on His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass.

R&H was recently awarded the bulk of the vfx work on the next Hulk movie, so hopefully I'll be able to get my hands a little dirty on that one too! Anyways, this is where I'll stop the bio.

I want to thank Mel for this new blog, its a great idea. I can't wait to see who else he puts up here. And I still can't figure out why he even has me at all, I really feel like a nobody in this world of vfx/animation, but it sure is a fun job. "

Thanks Matt. Im not buyin the nobody bit and waiting for that autograph.....


ljay said...

wow mel, wish I could meet the big hollywood stars. Is Matt 6'8? or are you really that short...sorry. This new blog looks like fun. I'll be back cuz I know you know EVERYONE!

Mindi said...

Hey Mel, I'll be honest, I have no idea how I stumbled upon your blog, but Matt is my 1st cousin, so it was fun to see you put him up here. The entire family is pretty proud of Matt and the movies he makes, and I'll admit, I'm a name-dropper now, having a cousin who worked on such huge films!